SEOUL -- BTS members were rewarded with the postponement of conscription for obligatory military service to continue activities as a united whole for at least two more years after the K-pop wonder achieved another milestone with "Life Goes On" that became the first Korean song to land at No. 1 on the Billboard's main singles chart.
In a plenary session on December 1, lawmakers endorsed a revision to South Korea's military service act to enable the postponement of conscription or recruitment for pop culture artists who were recognized for enhancing the prestige and image of their homeland. BTS' eldest member Jin, 28, can put off enlistment until the age of 30.
Compulsory military service is required for all able-bodied men aged between 18 and 35. Olympic medalists or Asian Games gold medalists are exempted from military service. Fine arts have received benefits such as alternative service in non-military spots. After completing four weeks of basic training, outstanding artists should do 544 hours of volunteer work using their special skills, but there have been no rules regarding pop-artists.
The revision was proposed by Jeon Yong-ki, a ruling party member, in September after BTS captured the hearts of global music fans with "Dynamite," a disco-pop track that debuted at No. 1 on Billboard's main singles chart.
Now, outstanding pop culture artists can postpone conscription on recommendations by Culture, Sports and Tourism Park Yang-woo who has always taken a favorable attitude over military service by BTS members, heaping praise on their stellar achievement abroad.
Regardless of political orientation, many people in South Korea regard BTS members as valuable national assets and show great interest in their steps going forward. Military service has been a sensitive topic. Steve Yoo, a Korean-born American singer, had gained popularity for his sporty image and explosive dancing style until he acquired U.S. citizenship in 2002. He has been banned from entering South Korea for widespread criticism that he changed nationality to evade military conscription.
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